Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma pose for photographers. File
Gulf Today Report
India captain Virat Kohli is set to miss three matches of the four-Test series against Australia after being granted a paternity leave.
Kohli will fly back home after the first Test, which gets under way on Dec.17, to be beside his expecting wife Anushka Sharma. The power couple is expecting their first child in January next year.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) also announced on Monday that another key batsman, Rohit Sharma, has been added back to the Test squad despite his injury worries.
India leave for Australia this week and the BCCI said Kohli told them in October that he would return after the first Test ends in Adelaide on Dec.21.
"The BCCI has granted paternity leave to the Indian captain," said a board statement which also confirmed his return date.
That means the world's top ranked one-day batsman will lead India in the three one-day internationals, three Twenty20 matches in November and December and the opening Test only.
The second Test starts in Melbourne on Dec.26 followed by matches in Sydney and Brisbane in strict bio-bubbles during the pandemic crisis.
Sharma, who picked up a hamstring injury in the Indian Premier League, will start late, despite taking part for defending champions Mumbai Indians in Tuesday's final against Delhi Capitals.
The board said a medical team had been monitoring the 33-year-old opener and "it has been decided to rest him for the ODIs and T20Is in Australia to regain full fitness" before taking part in the Tests.
Veteran fast bowler Ishant Sharma will also be added to the Test team after he regains full fitness from a muscle tear that made him miss a large part of the IPL with Delhi.
India, who won their first ever series in Australia on their last tour, will leave on Thursday to undergo a two-week quarantine before the first ODI on Nov.27 in Sydney.
South Africa, who desperately need a win to keep their campaign alive after two successive defeats, saw their openers depart early in Bumrah's first spell.
Virat Kohli confirmed the news on his Instagram account, which read: “We are thrilled to share with you that we have been blessed with a baby girl this afternoon. We thank you for all your love, prayers and good wishes.”
India and England will lock horns in the third and final One-Day International (ODI) which will decide the winner of the ongoing three-match series here at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Sunday.
When England were pulverised 0-4 on their last tour of India in 2016, Virat Kohli piled up 655 runs at an average of 109.16 in the five-match Test series, and Karun Nair became the second Indian to score a triple century after Virender Sehwag.
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